2017-04-20 / Front Page

Yardley’s knowledge, humor, sense of community recalled

By Cheryl Holladay

Brett Yardley served his community for many years, mainly as director of the Houghton Lake Sewer Authority, but he also served on the Houghton Lake Public Library Board.

“I will miss Brett’s wit, intelligence and his dedicated commitment to our community,” Roscommon Township Su­pervisor (and former HLSA chair) Diane Randall said.

Yardley died April 12, 2017, at Mun­son Medical Center, Traverse City.

HLSA Superintendent John Hines, who took over two and a half years ago when Yardley retired, said he had worked for him for 23 years.

“He was the best boss a guy could ever ask for,” Hines said.

Yardley cared about the environment, as well as his job, he said, and he knew how to bring out the best in people.

“He knew how to inspire people to do great things,” Hines said.

Yardley had come to Houghton Lake 37 years ago, having worked at the wastewater treatment plant in Munising, Hines said. After retiring, he served on the HLSA board as an at-large member. (The board consists of a representative from each of the four townships – Lake, Markey, Denton and Roscommon – and one non-elected member.) Hines said that was a wise choice.

“He was a wealth of knowledge,” Hines said. “He was a smart guy.”

Randall said Yardley also had a de­gree in limnology, which is the study of inland waters. Yardley had worked as di­rector of the HLSA since its creation in 1978, she said.

“He was instrumental in operating the HLSA’s nontraditional process of utilizing a wetland as a final filter for wastewater versus a very costly chemi­cal treatment facility,” Randall said.

Hines said Yardley was “instrumen­tal” in the development of Denton Town­ship’s wastewater treatment system and overaw the HLSA’s $10 million renova­tion as well as Markey Township’s $7 million renovation.

“He oversaw the planning, but retired before it was built,” Hines said.

Joe Faino, former Denton Town­ship supervisor and chairman of the sewer authority, said Yardley helped him on some big projects.

He oversaw the relining of Den­ton’s ponds and helped repair a leak in the lines from Denton Township to the Houghton Lake ponds.

“Brett took that project on at a big savings to the community,” Faino said, adding that he checked sewer lines for leaks and illegal hookups.

Yardley could “always foresee things,” Faino said, and looked for ways to improve Houghton Lake’s system.

“He was a guy of principles and hon­or and values,” Faino said, and helped him personally on numerous occasions. “He was such a great guy.”

Hines said Yardley was “the best” joke teller.

“He could always bring a smile to someone’s face,” he said. “He loved to live life. He loved people. He had a heart of gold, he really did.”

Donna Alward, former director of the Houghton Lake Public Library, said Yardley was a board member during the library’s first renovation and she appre­ciated his “no-nonsense” ways.

“He was a good library board mem­ber,” she said. “I always enjoyed seeing him. He was always in a good mood.”

Alward said Yardley was interested in serving library patrons, preferring to call them “customers.”

“I was sad to see him leave the board,” she said.

Nadine Lockwood, former Roscom­mon Township supervisor, said she worked with Yardley when she served as HLSA chair.

“He was a voice of reason,” she said. “He could explain things he knew in such a personable way.”

Hines said HLSA board members met Tuesday for the first time since learning of Yardley’s death. He said the board acknowledged him, but then tend­ed to business.

“The place will keep running,” he said, “but he will be truly, truly missed.”

Mr. Yardley’s full obituary can be found on page A3.

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